Review, Pages 4 (922 words)
‘The Sixth Sense’ comes from award winning director M. Night Shyamalan who has produced other blockbuster films such as ‘Signs’, ‘The Village’ and ‘Unbreakable’. The story is based around a young boy who has an extraordinary secret – he sees dead people.
He is portrayed by Hayley Joel Osment and his fantastic performance only adds to the effectiveness of this superb supernatural thriller. The film, set in modern day Philadelphia is guaranteed to keep you gripped from beginning to end and leave you with a lasting impression, but don’t get me wrong – you’ll love every minute.
Cole Sear – the main character
The main character, Cole Sear, is portrayed by Haley Joel Osment (as seen in Forest Gump) who gives a stellar performance, which is complimented by the excellent supporting character Dr. Malcolm Crowe. Played by Bruce Willis (as seen in Die Hard and Sin City), Dr. Malcolm Crowe gives a out of this world performance as a child psychologist, brought in to help Cole and portrays the character as remorseful and calm, yet thoughtful which is tremendously effective.
Other supporting characters include Toni Colette as Lynn Sear, Cole’s Mum who is emotionally haunted, outcast and extremely eccentric. There are only a limited number of characters in the film, however, I believe amplifies the central character’s performance. The names of the characters are crafted perfectly to fit the personality of the characters. An example of this is Cole Sear, which can be broken down into Cole, which sounds like Cold and Sear that is like “Seer”, and he sees dead people.
The opening title
From the moment the film starts the opening title set the tone for the remainder of the film. It is clear attention has been paid to detail with the choice of colours; blue and black. These demonstrate dark and cold – the theme of the film. The music builds tension and the titles are long and drawn out building anticipation, which not many films manage to successfully achieve. Every part of the titles signifies an extraordinary supernatural thriller, and we are not let down.
James Newton Howard created the score for the film and this adds to the unsettling beginning of the film especially. The music is also fantastically crafted to get the audience involved and enthralled into the film. The non-diegetic sounds of the film are expected in a horror film such as this, but are still used effectively and build short-term tension flawlessly but do not perfectly master the art of building tension that lasts through the whole film as some films manage to.
The opening scene is possibly the most exciting and atmospheric of the whole film. The flickering light bulb builds tension and makes us aware that something is coming. Camera angles are another tool utilised by director M. Night Shyamalan as he uses shots ranging from Long shots to Medium Long shots to imply that the character is being watched and uses a low shot angle to develop this feeling within the audience. However, Shyamalan keeps the audience in suspense by not immediately revealing whom or what is watching and overall, this creates a fantastic result.
The psychological thriller
The genre of horror is generally associated with films such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and other films that contain a lot of blood and gore whereas “The Sixth Sense” attempts at changing the genre by becoming more of a psychological thriller and does so successfully. It also differs greatly from Shyamalan’s later films, such as “Signs” (2002) as there is no feeling of imposing danger in “The Sixth Sense” whereas many other films there are.
Although I consider this to be great, and the fact the production team have attempted to rejuvenate the typical horror genre adds to the interest of the film I think the film could have been improved if there was a greater feeling of danger or impending doom as it is easy for the audience to get bored if they have not been enticed by the film so far. However I do believe that Shyamalan accomplished what he was attempting to do perfectly.
Without revealing the major twist towards the end of the film for people who haven’t get seen it is hard to pick out any key moments but on re-watch it becomes very clear what is going on and the way the twist is pulled of without arousing the audiences suspicion is true genius. However a key moment which builds tension is one where Cole is at the party and is locked in a cupboard by his friends and although you can’t see what is happening inside the cupboard you are aware of what could be taking place inside which is one of the way the director uses the element of sightlessness to the advantage of the film to keep the audience captivated.
Overall the film “The Sixth Sense” is a must-see for all horror fans and anybody who enjoys a decent film without blood and gore due to the fact there is no film similar to this one and it is unlikely there will be one in the future. However, I do not believe that it is one of the greatest horror films of all time as due to the lack of prolonged tension throughout the film. This is no fault of the cast as they give a memorable performance, and it is guaranteed to break many Box-Office records due to the sheer revolutionary way the film attempts to re-create the horror genre.